As we step into the flu season, it's important to understand the potential threats posed by influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). These viral infections typically hit their peak during the fall and winter months in the United States, often escalating in October and peaking between December and February. A mild case of RSV causes mild, cold-like symptoms and is often confused with the flu. Both equally as bad, can turn a happy and cheery holiday gathering into a breeding ground for these viruses.
AFC Urgent Care Danbury wants to help you brush up your knowledge on RSV and the flu: what they are, the symptoms, and how to help your children if they do get sick this winter.
Common Flu and RSV Symptoms
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infiltrate and infect the respiratory system, including the nasal passages, throat, and lungs. Certain individuals, such as those aged 65 and older, young children, and individuals with specific health conditions, face a risk of experiencing severe complications resulting from the flu.
Two categories of influenza (flu) viruses exist: types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that consistently circulate among humans, often termed human influenza viruses, are responsible for the annual occurrence of seasonal flu epidemics.
- High fever
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
While most individuals recover from the flu, it can lead to severe complications, particularly among those with compromised immune systems or preexisting medical conditions.
On the other hand, Respiratory syncytial virus, abbreviated as RSV, is a prevalent respiratory virus that typically induces mild symptoms resembling those of a common cold. The majority of people recover within one to two weeks, but RSV can pose a significant threat. Infants and elderly adults are more susceptible to developing severe RSV symptoms, occasionally requiring hospitalization. Vaccines are available to protect older adults from severe RSV, while monoclonal antibody products are accessible to safeguard infants and young children against severe RSV.
Common symptoms may include:
- Coughing and sneezing
- Respiratory difficulties
How to Protect Yourself from RSV and the Flu
Preventing the Flu
- The CDC strongly recommends receiving an annual flu vaccine as the primary and most crucial measure to guard against flu viruses.
- It is advisable for everyone aged 6 months and older to obtain an annual flu vaccine, preferably by the end of October.
- Avoid close contact with individuals who are currently ill.
- If you find yourself unwell, limit contact with others as much as possible to prevent virus transmission.
- Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette.
- Here at AFC we also offer “fluzone” high dose flu shots for seniors and those 65 and up.
In cases of the flu, the CDC advises individuals to stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever has subsided, with the exception of seeking medical care or fulfilling essential needs. The fever should naturally subside without the need for fever-reducing medications.
- The CDC recommends that all children under 8 months of age receive nirsevimab to protect them during their first RSV season.
- Consider obtaining a Nasal swab RSV test at AFC Urgent Care Danbury.
- An RSV vaccine is available to protect adults aged 60 years and older from RSV disease. Older adults are at a greater risk than their younger counterparts for experiencing severe RSV-related complications due to the gradual weakening of their immune systems.
- When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue or your shirt sleeve as a safeguard rather than your hands.
Although we do not offer a vaccine for RSV, discussing RSV vaccination options with your healthcare provider is a wise choice, especially for high-risk individuals. Currently, certain pharmacies are offering RSV vaccines for those of you looking to double up on your vaccine protection.
Get Tested For RSV at AFC Urgent Care Danbury Any Day Of The Week
Unsure if your child or loved one has RSV? Stop by our AFC Urgent Care center in Danbury located on 2 Main St. to get a nasal swab and we’ll get you the results you need to have peace of mind this winter. We also offer the flu shot and COVID-19 testing as we can’t forget about those two viruses either!
AFC Urgent Care Danbury is open 7 days a week and you can walk-in or make an appointment online, anytime!